To lead or to follow?

May 24, 2017

 The competition was fierce. My team was pulling the thick and frayed rope with every ounce of strength they had. Every one of us was covered in mud but it didn’t matter because we could smell sweet victory. With our team name of ‘Independence’, how could we possibly lose? Even from early childhood we had each fought towards doing things on our own; pushing against society - and today was the day we would prove as a team that our way was right. Pull! Pull! Pull! Our team meeting before this game had been simple. We want to be in charge, nobody gets in our way, and our team motto, ‘Lead’ was boldly printed across our t-shirts. Pull! Pull! We were definitely leading – that other team had no chance against us. Pull! Pull! My hands stung from the rope but there was no way I was giving into that other team, no way would I taste of defeat and be pulled into that muddy swamp that separated us. Pull! Pull!

I looked across the dirty, shallow water and eyed the other team. What was it their t-shirts said? I squinted my eyes in the bright sun and tried to make out the faded word. F…o…l…. ‘Follow’. Follow? ….follow? My shock almost made me lose my firm grasp on the rope. I shook my head and got back into the game. Pull! Pull! …But why would their shirts say ‘follow’? ‘Hey!’ I yelled to my teammate and nodded across the water - ‘what’s that team’s name?’ My teammate looked back at me for a moment, losing his grasp and sliding towards the swamp. ‘Dependent’, he yelled back. ‘What?!?’ ‘Dependent!! ’

I continued pulling the rope, my heels digging into the wet mud. Every time I took a few steps back, I slid forward and every time I fell backward I lunged to catch my footing - but I was so lost in deep thought that I didn’t even notice. Why would a team purposely call themselves ‘Dependent’ and print the word ‘follow’ on their team shirts? Isn’t that just asking to lose? I mean...Dependent and follow? Such weak words; the exact opposite of what our team had chosen. ‘OH NO!’ I jerked back to attention. Our first 2 team members had been pulled into the swamp. Pull! Pull! Pull! My heels dug into the thick mud and I tried to step back, but I was being drug along with my entire team right into that dirty water. SPLASH! SPLASH! Sliiiiiiiiiiiide SPLASH!

As the other team reached down and helped us out of the swamp, our defeat was the only thing I could think of and questions tumbled out me faster than I could put my words together. ‘Why would your team name be ‘Dependence’? Why would your T-shirts say ‘follow’? How did you win this tug-of-war game with such weak goals?

Paula’s message on Wednesday, May 24th has the answers.

#follow and live IN #dependence.

 

{To hear the full teaching click here or visit www.calvaryhampton.org/listen}

 

 

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